Jade Puckett in Houston, Texas spent her wedding night in a wedding gown in a cell with twenty other women at the Harris County jail after she and her new husband were pulled over in a sobriety roadblock. Police say that Puckett became belligerent and was arrested. She is not contesting the charge (which was pleaded out as public intoxication), but she has filed a complaint over her abusive treatment by Harris County officers. That complaint appears to have considerable merit.
Puckett’s complaint alleges that officers had great fun with her after throwing her into the common cell. She says that officers repeatedly opened the cell door to show laughing onlookers the scene of her sitting in her wedding gown. While she was waiting for the hearing on her case, she says that someone came in to the holding room to take numerous pictures of her in her gown and then put those pictures on the Internet where they are quite popular.
The privacy of arrested individuals is relatively low. As shown by countless mugshots of celebrities and even videos like that of Sidney Blumenthal’s booking, the police may release embarrassing material as part of the public record. However, this is different. If officers used Puckett as a tourist attraction, those officers should be fired as not just unprofessional but cruel. It was a terrible mistake for the couple to drive after drinking at their wedding reception. Couples will often over-indulge on such occasions. Moreover, the police cannot simply let the driver go. It is also not possible to judge the basis for the bride’s arrest (who was not driving). I would hope that the officers tried hard not to arrest the bribe under these circumstances but they may have had a reason. However, that is no excuse for the public humiliation alleged here.
Notably, Puckett also alleges that she was refused the opportunity to change clothes, which strikes me as a bit odd and cruel under these circumstances.